Sibling relationship quality and young children’s mental health in Chinese two-child families

Xiayun Yin1, Zhihua Li2, Jianhua Li3, Xiaoqun Liu4
1School of Education, Hunan University of Science and Technology, People’s Republic of China
2School of Education, Hunan Agricultural University, People’s Republic of China
3School of Public Administration, Central South University, People’s Republic of China
4Xiangya School of Public Health, Central South University, People’s Republic of China
Cite this article:  Yin, X., Li, Z., Li, J., & Liu, X. (2019). Sibling relationship quality and young children’s mental health in Chinese two-child families. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 47, e7457.

Volume 47 Issue 6 | e7457 | Published: June 2019 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.7457

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With enactment of the universal two-child policy in China in 2016, the two-child family will replace the one-child family as the main family form. In this study we examined the contribution of sibling relationship quality in shaping the mental health of Chinese children in a two-child family. Parents (N = 280) reported the quality of their children’s sibling relationship, and their firstborn’s problematic and prosocial behavior, and temperament. Parents’ marital satisfaction and coparenting were also assessed. The results showed that after we had controlled for the child characteristics of age, gender, temperament, sibling age difference, and sibling gender difference, and for the parental characteristics of age and marital satisfaction, and coparenting, sibling negativity and positivity were both significantly related to child problematic behavior. In addition, sibling positivity was significantly related to child prosocial behavior. The results suggest that parents in a two-child family should provide guidance for their children’s sibling relationship, and, in particular, increase the children’s positive interaction to improve their mental health.

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